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Gio Ponti, Twice Over Head Deep World Cup Field

Twice Over (GB) is the tepid 4-1 morning line favorite for Saturday’s Dubai World Cup. The 14-horse field also includes Fly Down, Gio Ponti, and three intriguing Japanese entrants.

US fans should be familiar with Twice Over. Henry Cecil’s classy horse finished 3rd behind Zenyatta and Gio Ponti in the ’09 Breeders’ Cup Classic before disappointing in this race last year. He did not have a prep for his 2010 World Cup tilt but appears in a much better position this time after an easy course/distance victory in round three of the Maktoum Challenge. Tom Queally takes his usual seat aboard the sharp prominent throughout threat.


Fly Down and Gio Ponti will represent the United States and the former may not return to the states after this engagement.

Fly Down placed in some big races last year including the Belmont Stakes, Travers, Jockey Club Gold Cup, and Breeders’ Cup Classic. The late running long winded sort disappointed in his Donn return and has never raced on synthetic ground.

Gio Ponti finished a close-up 4th in the event last year but he had a prep for that one and enters without the benefit of a race under his belt this time around. The US turf champion finished 2nd in the ’09 BC Classic and ended his 2010 campaign playing second fiddle to Goldikova in the BC Mile. The hard charging 6-year-old gelding should make his presence felt in the lane.

Japan could use some good news following their recent devastating earthquake and tsunami. They have three entrants in here beginning with talented mare Buena Vista. The consistent daughter of Special Week has run all of her races on turf and finished 2nd in the Dubai Sheema Classic here last year.

Victoire Pisa beat Buena Vista by a nose to end his 2010 season and easily captured his seasonal bow in Japan as the overwhelming favorite in February.

Unlike his Japanese turf specialist counterparts, Transcend has done most of his damage on dirt. The vastly improved 5-year-old son of Wild Rush has rattled off three straight and could surprise at 20-1 on the line.  

Musir (AUS) goes for sharp international conditioner Mike De Kock. He has been part of the exacta in all eight lifetime starts and has plenty of experience at Meydan. Christophe Soumillion sticks with the early-pressing factor.

Cape Blanco (IRE) is a classy, multiple stakes winning turf performer for Aidan O’Brien. He flopped over soft ground as the favorite when last seen in the 2010 Arc and can compete here if he handles the Tapeta footing.

Ramzan Kadyrov’s recent purchase Gitano Hernando (GB) has been erratic since his upset win in the ’09 Goodwood at Santa Anita. He finished an encouraging 3rd behind Twice Over in his final local prep for this and he was 6th in this affair last year.

Former Bob Baffert trainee Richard’s Kid won multiple stakes races in the US including back-to-back runnings of the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. He finished 7th in the 2010 World Cup and was not a factor in his local prep for this.

Frankie Dettori rides Poet’s Voice (GB) for Godolphin. The turf mile specialist should get a stern class and surface test.

Monterosso (GB) captured the Emirates Air Dubai City Gold over the Meyden green in his March 3 return. He handles all-weather footing and has won half of his twelve lifetime starts but he must answer the class question in this salty spot.

Prince Bishop (IRE) was one paced in his local prep for this and seems to be a cut below the best.  

Golden Sword rounds out the field from post 14. He enters in fine form and clearly enjoys the local synthetic track but class is a huge question for De Kock’s longshot entrant.




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